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Education at home parental proposal form?

(11 Posts)
morethanpotatoprints Fri 04-Jan-13 22:13:59

Is it just me? If you received one of these would you be annoyed? The way that several parts of the LA "pack" they sent me are worded have really wound me up.

To me it infers that parents are required to propose their philosophy, resources, plans for monitoring, socialisation etc in order to gain their permission or acceptance.
It talks in detail about the named person being responsible for home visits, reports and monitoring progress.

So I recycled their paperwork and am using my own devised philosophy and refusing home visits.

One part states that the person doing visits is a H.ed parent and active in the H.ed community. Would I be cutting of my noise to spite my face if I reject a home visit?

I really object to a part that states" Families new to H.ed need time to establish themselves and hopefully you will have put things in place since July.

Maybe its just me reading too much into it, but my gut instinct tells me to refuse. I am not usually rebellious for the sake of it.

hamstered Sat 05-Jan-13 05:31:15

I'm new to home ed too and will be deregistering in a few days time. I find it all quite daunting and am hoping you get replies to your question as I'm sure I will be in the same boat. From what I have gathered from the rest of the home ed community though is that once you agree to home visits you can't go back and say you don't want them anymore. Am wondering if that's true. My instinct would be to say that you don't need them either.... I'm going to do exactly that and here, here on recycling that pack!!!

streakybacon Sat 05-Jan-13 11:26:04

I used to accept home visits in the early days (now been HEing 4 years) but have just sent a report the past two years. We're just too busy and a face to face meeting would only serve to duplicate the information I've already given in the report. Haven't had a problem with it, and still have a reasonable relationship with the LA, although they do tend to be a bit box-ticky and formal with their correspondence.

Personally, I think it's easier and less time-consuming to have a polite relationship with the LA than to argue with them about rights and responsibilities and refuse all contact, which tends to make most LAs suspicious and more keen to make personal contact. I send my report and leave it at that. If they contact me again to ask about visiting (which they often do as a matter of routine - I don't consider it intrusive but just admin) I just remind them about the report and tell them they'll get another the following year.

Saracen Sat 05-Jan-13 14:52:26

morethan, you can do whatever feels right to you. You certainly won't be closing any doors if you refuse home visits and you can always change your mind later. I didn't understand when you said "the person doing visits is a H.ed parent and active in the H.ed community. Would I be cutting of my noise to spite my face if I reject a home visit?" - are you worried that you might not be comfortable associating with other local HE parents if you decline a visit? I am sure it won't be a problem. People have all sorts of different reasons for wanting a visit or not wanting one. So long as you don't criticise anyone else's choice it won't be an issue.

When you said "am using my own devised philosophy" did you mean you are sending an educational philosophy to the LA? That should be more than adequate. Some radicals like me argue that you aren't even obliged to provide any information at all unless the LA has good reason to believe you aren't educating your children. But most HE parents prefer to provide some information to the LA in order to be quite sure they have definitely done all that is required and avoid any risk of being taken to court. Regardless of which stance you decide to take, if they have sent you some communication asking you to provide something then you should definitely respond in some way.

Saracen Sat 05-Jan-13 15:19:57

hamstered, agreeing to home visits does not mean that you will need to continue with them. It is entirely up to you how you choose to send the LA information, now and in future.

When it comes to interactions with the LA, there is only one decision where there is "no going back", so to speak, and it doesn't apply to you. I'm referring to the case of a family who is not known to their LA as home educating, perhaps because their children never went to school or because they've moved house. They don't have to inform anyone they are home educating. But if they do choose to tell the LA, the LA is likely to take an interest and to ask them about their educational provision. They now have a relationship with their LA whether they like it or not, and cannot demand that the LA "forget" about them. So they might want to think carefully about whether they want to contact the LA in the first place. As I say, that isn't relevant to you. You don't have the choice of remaining unknown to your LA. You have to deregister your child from school and the school will then tell the LA.

So, since the above doesn't apply to you, no decision which you make is irrevocable. But I would still suggest that someone new to home educating would be better off getting advice from other HE families rather than accepting a visit from the LA in the first instance. Some families enjoy their visits but others may find them intimidating and unhelpful especially if child has had a rough time at school and the parent or child is feeling fragile. You don't know how the person visiting will treat you - even if other local families say he/she is very nice, you won't necessarily have the same experience - and it would be a bad time for you or your child to feel bullied and have a knock to your confidence.

Feel free to recycle any information the LA may send you, but you do need to respond in some way if they ask you for information. You don't necessarily have to comply with what they are asking you to do - some LAs are very unreasonable and fail to make it clear what your obligations actually are - but it's unwise to ignore their communications entirely. You might decide to send them an assertive letter instead, quoting the law and explaining why you don't have to do what they ask. People here or on other home ed email lists will be glad to help you draft letters if you like.

Have a look at this when you have a chance: and if you live in England, click the link which says "Download the Government's Elective Home Education Guidelines for Local Authorities" It's an easy read and should provide you with a quick introduction to the law.

morethanpotatoprints Sun 06-Jan-13 00:13:14

Thank you all for the replies. I'm up late tonight as dds birthday and have kids sleeping over, say no more. Think they are finally quiet now, lol.

I may have panicked a bit as it all seemed so formal and there are several reasons I don't want a home visit. The main one is that I think the report they make could be subjective for e.g if clean and tidy (unlikely in our house) it could be reported as too sterile and not an environment for play. Also our house is chaotic with loud live music, people coming and going etc. We are used to it, switch off and don't notice it but someone else could consider it bedlam. There are also issues of a personal nature as dh is recovering from an emergency op, boxing day and daily nursing routines are required, well into Feb.

I worried that the visitor also active in H.ed community and H.ed parent may not like my refusal for a visit and it might hinder present and future friendships. Especially, if she is well respected and it seems like I'm the only one going against the norm.
In fairness though it does include the alternatives to visits but its sort of implied that you aren't doing yourself any favours in refusal and how beneficial a visit will be.

FionaJNicholson Mon 07-Jan-13 15:20:11

A very useful phrase is "I would prefer not..."

as in "I would prefer not to have a home visit, but thank you very much for the offer."

That's a complete sentence. You don't need to say why or not at the moment or anything else.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 07-Jan-13 16:03:05

Thanks Fiona and Saracen.

I feel a bit bad as I contacted them today,just to explain why I hadn't replied to their request. They were really nice and SEEM like they will be quite obliging and fair, unlike several LA's I've heard mentioned on here.

streakybacon Tue 08-Jan-13 07:17:53

Mine are similar morethan - very nicey-nicey on the surface but there are a lot of things in their overall attitude that concern me. I think some LAs genuinely believe they are providing a good support service to home educators but they can't look out of their mainstream box and recognise that they're not. Some get quite surprised that we might be offended at how they operate as they simply can't see it.

I keep all my contact polite and official, on similar lines to Fiona's suggestion. I usually write "I don't think a face to face meeting would be necessary just now but I'll be in touch if there's anything you might be able to help with", but of course I rarely do as they don't have the means to support me in the areas where I need it.

Bottom line is, there's a lot of grey area between the fab LAs and the wicked and evil ones. Most fall somewhere in the middle.

hamstered Tue 08-Jan-13 12:39:14

morethanpotatoprints I'm really glad you started this thread as the first LEA contact is kind of filling me with dread. All the advice on here is great reassurance.
saracen thank you for your comprehensive and detailed advice most of which I did not know. I'm going to read that right now as I'm sure things will seem clearer when I do, thank you

morethanpotatoprints Tue 08-Jan-13 13:43:13

I think it is different when it is your own situation, more worrying somehow. I suppose each LEA is different and there seems to be a general miss trust on various organisations websites. I have read several posts on here of the more radical views to home visits, when I read them I think go girl, stand up to your belief, and have great respect for them not caving in. I think yes I will do that, until the first contact, ha ha when I start to worry.
I also thought we had got away with it and not sure if anyone can remember my earlier threads. I had a feeling that the head from dds last school wouldn't inform the LEA we had deregistered, and she didn't. Apparentley she has been in loads of trouble for this, had even lost the letter, so I had to send a replacement. So as far as our LEA are concerned they can't get our ED Phil quickly enough, lol.

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